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Captain Kirk (2266)
Name: James Tiberius Kirk
Gender: Male
Species: Human
Born: March 22nd, 2233
Died: 2371
Brother: George Samuel Kirk
Marital status: Widower
Wife: Miramanee (deceased,2268)
Children: David Marcus (deceased, 2285)

one unborn to Miramanee (deceased, 2268)

Actor: William Shatner

James Tiberius Kirk, serial no. SC937-0176CEC, was arguably the most famous Starfleet captain in Federation history. He commanded both the USS Enterprise and the USS Enterprise-A.

Early History

Kirk was born March 22, 2233 in the town of Riverside, Iowa on planet Earth. (TOS: "The Deadly Years"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

According to the infamous and incorrect "James R. Kirk" tombstone, created by Gary Mitchell in TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Kirk was born on stardate 1277.1.
Kirk's birthplace of Riverside was never fully canonically established on screen. The real life town of Riverside "claimed" Kirk after Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home established that Kirk was born in Iowa, and with Gene Roddenberry's consent, developed a tourist industry around this idea.

By 2246, Kirk had moved to Tarsus IV, where he was, at the age of 13, one of nine surviving eyewitnesses to the massacre of some 4,000 colonists by Governor Kodos the Executioner. (TOS: "The Conscience of the King")

Early in his life, Kirk contracted and nearly died from Vegan choriomeningitis. (TOS: "The Mark of Gideon")

Academy years

In 2250, Kirk qualified for Starfleet Academy and as a first year cadet Kirk was part of a peace mission to the world of Axanar where he earned a Palm Leaf of Axanar Peace Mission. During his Academy days, Kirk was tormented by an upperclassmen named Finnegan, who frequently chose Kirk as a target for practical jokes. Kirk found a measure of satisfaction years later, in 2267, when he had the chance to wallop a replica of Finnegan created on the Amusement Park planet in the Omicron Delta region. (TOS: "Shore Leave") He also had John Gill as an instructor for history. Kirk himself also served as an instructor while at the Academy, and Gary Mitchell was one of his students. The two were good friends, and once Mitchell took a poisonous dart on Dimorus meant for Kirk, saving Kirk's life. Mitchell set up Kirk with a "little blonde lab technician" whom Kirk almost married (later thought by some to be a reference to Carol Marcus). (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before") Another of Kirk's friends from his Academy days was Ben Finney, who named his daughter, Jame after Kirk. (TOS: "Court Martial")

One of Kirk's heroes at the academy was the legendary Captain Garth of Izar, whose exploits are required reading. Years later Kirk helped save his hero when Garth had become criminally insane and was being held treated at the Elba II penal colony. (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy") Another of Kirk's personal heroes was Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of Earth's United States of America. (TOS: "The Savage Curtain")

At the Academy, James Kirk earned a reputation for having been the only cadet ever to have beaten the feared "no-win" Kobayashi Maru scenario, which tested a cadet's response to a scenario in which victory is impossible. Kirk repeatedly refused to accept his failure to win. On his third attempt, Kirk beat the "no-win" scenario by secretly reprogramming the simulation computer to make it possible to win, earning a commendation for original thinking in the process. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Early career

His Academy cruise as an Ensign was served aboard USS Republic where he worked with his friend and instructor, Ben Finney. Unfortunately, a rift developed between them when Kirk logged a mistake that Finney had made, and Finney blamed Kirk for his subsequent failure to earn command of a starship. (TOS: "Court Martial")

Kirk's first deep space assignment after graduation was aboard the USS Farragut. (TOS: "Obsession") One of his first missions as a young lieutenant was to command a survey mission to Neural in 2254. (TOS: "A Private Little War")

While serving aboard the Farragut in 2257, Lieutenant Kirk blamed himself for the deaths of 200 Farragut personnel, including Captain Garrovick, by the dikironium cloud creature at planet Tycho IV. According to the tapes, documenting the event, Kirk insisted upon blaming himself because of his delay in firing at the creature. The ship's executive officer, however, disagreed, stating, "Lieutenant Kirk is a fine young officer who performed with uncommon bravery". (TOS: "Obsession")

The five-year mission

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Kirk served with distinction in the years that followed, rapidly rising up the ranks, until he was promoted to Captain in 2264 when he was given command of the USS Enterprise. Kirk's living quarters aboard the Enterprise were on Deck 5, room "3F 121". (TOS: "Journey to Babel", "The Conscience of the King") At age 31, Kirk was the youngest officer to date to reach the rank of captain.

Kirk commanded the Enterprise for a total of twenty two years. Kirk's greatest renown came from his command of a historic five-year mission of the Enterprise from 2265 to 2270 that made him a legend in space exploration. (Star Trek: Generations; VOY: "Q2")

By 2267, Kirk had earned an impressive list of commendations from Starfleet, including the Grankite Order of Tactics, Class of Excellence and the Prentares Ribbon of Commendation. Kirk's awards for valor included the Starfleet Medal of Honor, the Starfleet Silver Palm with cluster, the Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry, and the Karagite Order of Heroism. (TOS: "Court Martial")

The same year, Kirk became the first starship captain ever to face a court martial, after being accused of causing the death of Ben Finney. Kirk's trial, held at Starbase 11, proved Kirk innocent of wrongdoing, and he was exonerated. (TOS: "Court Martial") During that original five-year mission, Kirk recorded a tape of last orders to be played by Commander Spock and Chief Medical Officer McCoy upon his death. While trapped in a spatial interphase near Tholian space, Kirk vanished with the USS Defiant and was declared dead. His last orders conveyed the hope that his two friends would work together despite their differences. ("The Tholian Web") Kirk was once split into two personalities by a transporter malfunction. (TOS: "The Enemy Within")

Sisko meets Kirk

Kirk meets Benjamin Sisko

Several of Kirk's voyages involved travel through time. According to the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations, Kirk, who sometimes ignored regulations when he felt it was for the greater good, amassed 17 separate temporal violations during his career, more than any other person on file. (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

On screen, Kirk went back in time on at least seven occasions: TOS: "The Naked Time, "Assignment: Earth", "Tomorrow is Yesterday", "The City on the Edge of Forever", "All Our Yesterdays"; TAS: "Yesteryear" and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and forward on at least once: Star Trek: Generations.

Later career

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Following the return of the Enterprise from the five-year mission in 2270, Kirk received a promotion to rear admiral and became Chief of Starfleet Operations, a post he held for two and a half years. Kirk recommended Willard Decker to replace him as Enterprise captain while the ship underwent an extensive refit. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture")

In 2272, when Earth was threatened by the entity V'Ger, Kirk convinced Admiral Nogura that he was the best choice to face its threat. Kirk accepted a grade reduction back to captain and regained command of the Enterprise. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) Kirk would subsequently retire from Starfleet in 2281. (Star Trek: Generations)

Kirk was an intensely driven individual who loved the outdoors. A personal challenge that nearly cost him his life was free-climbing the sheer El Capitan mountain face in Yosemite National Park on Earth. He was an accomplished equestrian, and kept a horse at a mountain cabin that he owned during his first retirement. Another companion at his mountain cabin was Butler, his Great Dane. He sold the cabin sometime after his return to Starfleet. (Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Kirk returned to Starfleet in 2284 and took a position in the admiralty, as a staff instructor at Starfleet Academy. Kirk was dissatisfied with ground assignment, and returned to active duty in 2285 when Khan Noonien Singh hijacked the USS Reliant and stole the Genesis Device. During the mission, Captain Spock was killed when he entered an area flooded by radiation in order to carry out critical repairs to the ship. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

The loss impacted Kirk deeply, and when he learned that Spock's katra had survived, Kirk and the remaining Enterprise senior officers stole the ship from Earth Spacedock in order to recover the re-animated body of Spock from the Genesis Planet and bring it to Vulcan, where Spock was brought back to life in the fal-tor-pan ritual. Kirk ordered the Enterprise's destruction in the incident to prevent its capture by Klingons. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

Kirk and his officers were charged with nine violations of Starfleet regulations and subsequently subjected to a court martial for their actions in appropriating the Enterprise, but in light of their actions all charges where dismissed with the exception of one charge against Admiral Kirk, of disobeying a superior officer. Kirk pled guilty. The Federation Council was nonetheless grateful for Kirk's role in saving Earth from the devastating effects of an alien probe, which was causing massive environmental damage while attempting to communicate with an extinct species of whale, that Kirk's sentence was a mere reduction in rank one grade to Captain, and he was assigned command of the USS Enterprise-A. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) Kirk commanded this ship for a further seven years.

His career culminated in his escorting of Klingon Chancellor Gorkon to Earth for a peace conference in 2293. Kirk opposed Gorkon's peace initiative, and especially resented the fact that he was chosen as the Federation's olive branch. During that mission, assassins from among his crew killed the Chancellor. Kirk (along with McCoy) was subsequently arrested and wrongly convicted for the murder of Gorkon by Federation and Klingon forces conspiring to block Gorkon's initiatives. Sentenced to the infamous Rura Penthe penal asteroid, known throughout the galaxy as the "Aliens' Graveyard" and reputed to be escape-proof, Kirk and McCoy rapidly escaped. He took the Enterprise-A to Khitomer to prevent another assassination attempt, this time on the Federation president, and saved the historic Khitomer Conference from further attacks. The Enterprise-A was decommissioned, and Kirk retired from Starfleet shortly thereafter. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Relationships & Family

Kirk had an older brother, George Samuel Kirk, whom he called "Sam", and sister-in-law Aurelan. They were lost on the planet Deneva due to the invasion of the neural parasites in 2267. Kirk's nephew, Peter Kirk would survive in attack. (TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!") Sam Kirk had two other sons who were not on Deneva at the time of the tragedy. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

Kirk was notably unsuccessful in maintaining a long-term relationship with any woman. Although he was involved with many different women during his life, his intense passion for his ship and his career always seemed to interfere. In 2261, Kirk became involved with Dr. Carol Marcus. The two had a child, David Marcus, but Kirk and Carol did not remain together, because their respective careers took them in separate directions. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

In 2285, Kirk was reunited with Carol Marcus and their son, David, who were both working on Project Genesis, when Kirk rescued them from the vengeance of Khan. Kirk and his son would be able to achieve a degree of rapprochement. Tragically, however, David would be murdered on the Genesis Planet, by a Klingon officer who sought to steal the secret of Genesis. Kirk carried the bitterness for his son's murder for years, making his previous political opposition of the Klingon Empire morph into a personal hatred of the Klingons as a race. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Kirk fell in love with Antonia after his first retirement from Starfleet. The two lived together for some time before Kirk decided to rejoin Starfleet. For the rest of his life, he regretted not having proposed to her. (Star Trek: Generations)

The Nexus

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Shortly after his second retirement, Kirk joined his friends Montgomery Scott and Pavel Chekov as honored guests on the maiden voyage of the Excelsior-class USS Enterprise-B in 2293. The voyage was little more than a ceremonial cruise; the Enterprise-B was neither fully equipped or staffed. During the voyage, the ship recieved a distress signal from two Whorfin-class ships transporting El Aurian refugees, that were trapped in an energy distortion called the Nexus.

The Enterprise-B responded, and during the rescue attempt, Kirk was lost through a hull breach after successfully making a modification to the ship's deflector relays that would enable the ship to escape the energy distortion. Although Kirk was presumed dead, it was later learned that he had actually entered the Nexus, where he remained until 2371. In that year, he was discovered by Enterprise-D Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and agreed to leave the anomaly in order to help stop the deranged scientist Dr. Tolian Soran from destroying the Veridian system. Kirk was successful in saving the Veridians and the crew of the Enterprise-D, but the heroic effort cost Kirk his life when the bridge he was on collapsed into a ravine. James T. Kirk was buried in a simple stone cairn on a mountain top on the planet Veridian III. (Star Trek: Generations)

Key Dates

2265: Takes the USS Enterprise across the galactic barrier, the first Earth ship to do so in 200 years. During the mission, is forced to kill close friend Gary Mitchell.
2266: Achieves first contact with the First Federation led by Balok. Later that year, destroys a Romulan Bird-of-Prey which has crossed the Romulan Neutral Zone and attacked several Federation outposts.
2267: Becomes the first Starfleet Captain ever to stand trial when he is court martialed for negligent homicide in the death of Ben Finney. During the trial Finney is found to be alive.
2268: Responsible for stealing a Romulan cloaking device during a covert Starfleet intelligence mission. Experiences amnesia and lives among the American Indians on Amerind where he weds Miramanee.
2269: Diverts the asteroid-ship Yonada from destroying Daran V.
  • 2270: Promoted to Rear Admiral and assigned as Chief of Starfleet Operations.
  • 2273: Accepts temporary grade reduction to Captain and assumes command of USS Enterprise to intercept V'Ger.
  • 2281: Retires from Starfleet.
  • 2284: Returns to Starfleet as an instructor at Starfleet Academy.
  • 2285: Assumes temporary command of the Enterprise during a routine training mission, engages Khan Noonien Singh in the Battle of the Mutara Nebula. Deserts from Starfleet later that year to retrieve body of Captain Spock from Genesis Planet.
  • 2286: Returns to Earth to face court martial charges. Subsequently saves the planet in the Whale Probe incident. Demoted to Captain for disobeying orders of Starfleet Commander Harry Morrow and assigned to command the USS Enterprise-A.
  • 2287: Takes the Enterprise to the center of the galaxy after a hijack attempt by Vulcan renegade Sybok.
  • 2293: Responsible for saving the Khitomer Conference, along with Captain Hikaru Sulu of the USS Excelsior; retired by Starfleet and is believed killed later that year during the maiden voyage of the USS Enterprise-B.
  • 2371: Found alive inside the Nexus by Jean-Luc Picard. Killed by Tolian Soran while defeating his plans and saving planet Veridian III.

Background

James T. Kirk was played by actor William Shatner throughout TOS, TAS and the first seven films. According to the non-canon Shatner book "Captains Glory", Kirk was later reborn with Borg and Romulan technology following his death in Star Trek: Generations.

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